Representatives from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps paid a visit to Albany State University on Friday in recognition of Aviation and Military Awareness.
"Part of our challenge in naval aviation is exposure, especially in the minority community," said Lt. Cdr. Mike Walker of the U.S. Navy. "A lot of these kids have never been exposed to aviation, probably have never met a pilot."
Students from several local schools got some hands-on experience behind the wheels of a little military muscle. But they also heard plenty of straight talk about the challenges of joining any branch of service.
"It takes a lot of commitment on your part. You need to be aware that you're competing with the best and the brightest," said Walker.
Some students were impressed.
"You're fighting for your country and you're doing some good for the world and sacrifices don't really matter because you're doing that something that, for me, would be doing something that I love," said Exavier Shealy.
"I know there's going to be sacrifices and I'm willing to take any reasons to further my life in greatness so I can become someone," said Kewana Jackson.
One of the ideas stressed to the students here is that the training the military provides can prepare them for all kinds of careers. That can be especially important in an area like Southwest Georgia where unemployment remains high.
"You can go teach," said ASU student David King. "You can do computers. They have public relations. They have information security, all different types of careers. Another good thing about being in the military is the private sector likes to hire people that came from the military."
"Anybody out here today has that same opportunity, that same path they can go down," said Ens. Corey Meek of the U.S. Navy.